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Season to Taste Hardcover – 15 Jul 2014

3.5 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Little Brown and Company (15 July 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0316282480
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316282482
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 3.2 x 21.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 3,260,087 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

"Yes, it really is a novel about a woman who eats her husband, but only as much as, say, Rapunzel is a story about a woman who won't cut her hair. "Season to Taste "is a modern-day fable about the end of love and moving on. Natalie Young has given us a shockingly, thrillingly original new vantage on a timeless story of a marriage's demise." -Stefan Merrill Block, author of "The Storm at the Door"

"An enjoyable feast of anger - witty and poised." -Deborah Levy, author of "Swimming Home"

"A very smartly told tale... clever and twisted and a lot of fun." "Booklist""

"Most books about murder focus on the act of homicide (which can be all too instant and easy), so it makes a toothsome change to read one about the disposal of the body... As she slices her husband's carcass into edible portions, one meal at a time, making a numbered series of notes to herself (or to anyone who might want to try this at home), Lizzie also dissects the sad truths of her marriage and her hitherto malnourished existence. Cannibalism is her final act of congress with Jacob, and it's fascinating to witness. Natalie Young's sparse prose captures Lizzie's daze and confusion as she eats, cooks, eats, and may take you to some dark places as you ponder the way your own current relationships sustain you." "Lit Reactor""


"Most books about murder focus on the act of homicide (which can be all too instant and easy), so it makes a toothsome change to read one about the disposal of the body... As she slices her husband's carcass into edible portions, one meal at a time, making a numbered series of notes to herself (or to anyone who might want to try this at home), Lizzie also dissects the sad truths of her marriage and her hitherto malnourished existence. Cannibalism is her final act of congress with Jacob, and it's fascinating to witness. Natalie Young's sparse prose captures Lizzie's daze and confusion as she eats, cooks, eats, and may take you to some dark places as you ponder the way your own current relationships sustain you." "Lit Reactor""

About the Author

Natalie Young is a London-based writer. Her first novel, "We All Ran Into the Sunlight, "was published in England in 2011. She has written articles for "The Times," the Sunday Times, "Prospect," and "Mslexia."

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio Download
Is it, or is it not, a spoiler? It's the subtitle on the UK cover, and clearly the drawcard. Without it, I wouldn't have tried the book. So glad I did, though. Murder! Dismemberment! Cooking! Cannibalism! If you're interested in any of these, you'll be interested in Natalie Young's SEASON TO TASTE, OR HOW TO EAT YOUR HUSBAND. (Rephrase that: If you're interested in READING any of these... Because if you enjoy DOING murder, dismemberment, or cannibalism, you'd best turn yourself into police.)

So is Lizzie Prain a remarkable character, or are there just extreme circumstances? Nothing in particular seems to precede the murder. Jacob wasn't abusive; though it's clear it was a loveless marriage, a relationship out of convenience rather than anything else. Unemployment is a very relevant issue, and the strain it has on relationships is rather testing.

The cannibalism actually makes sense, strange as that sounds. If you don't want to be arrested, you've got to hide the evidence. A secluded location helps, as does a good barbecue, food processor, variety of recipes, and determination.

Yet the most fascinating sequence takes place in Glasgow, with a cooler bag that's struggling to keep cool its contents...

An extraordinary tale, SEASON TO TASTE is one of those novels you never expected to read and now can't imagine going WITHOUT reading it. Seemingly a literary tome, this genre fiction fan was fully engaged with SEASON TO TASTE. The monotony of the bonfire, cooking, and eating makes sense in the context, because it builds suspense for what's to come. I won't forget this book in a hurry.

Tori Amos said it best in "Blood Roses": "Sometimes you're nothing but meat."

Now awaiting the human/soylent green challenge on "Masterchef" and "My Kitchen Rules"...
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By Sid Nuncius #1 HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWER on 8 Oct. 2015
Format: Hardcover
I had really hoped to like this book, but I'm afraid I didn't really. It is well written had its moments but overall I found it quite a slog and didn't really think it amounted to all that much.

The book is certainly shocking, and all the reviews saying it will be one of the most talked about books of 2014 may be right for that reason. The narrative begins with Lizzie Prain killing her husband of 30 years, dismembering him with axe and saw, freezing the parts and then gradually cooking and eating every scrap. This is all described in detail – we get the severed bone and shiny bits of cartilage hanging out of a severed joint, for example – so it's not for the faint-hearted. Interspersed with this are Lizzie's attempts to carry on her life and reminiscences of how she ended up here, and her "Notes to self" on how to cope, written rather like recipe instructions.

As an idea it has real potential and Natalie Young can write very well, but after a few chapters I found it rather hard going. The idea of roasting her husband's hand with olive oil and seasoning, for example, presented in a matter-of-fact way like any other recipe is very effective, and for the first couple of times it continues to have impact. However, as the narrative progresses Young describes how Lizzie feels horribly over-full of indigestible meat and fat - and I began to know what she meant as I had to read in detail about yet another piece being prepared, cooked and eaten. There is precious little leaven of humour, humanity or even mordant wit to make it all more digestible, but my biggest problem with the book was that I couldn't see what the author was really driving at.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0xa560266c) out of 5 stars 9 reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9ce5b33c) out of 5 stars don't waste your time reading this or any other books by ... 24 Nov. 2014
By Anita fellows - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
don't waste your time reading this or any other books by this author- first you have to plod through all the disgusting recipes for the dismembered body parts, the main character is totally boring, the reason for killing her husband was mundane and not realistic, and there was no conclusion or closure- a total waste of time and money.I can't even give it 1 star it was that bad.but to submit this review , I had to rate it.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9ce5b48c) out of 5 stars Extraordinary 6 Mar. 2014
By Tez Miller - Published on Amazon.com
Is it, or is it not, a spoiler? It's the subtitle on the UK cover, and clearly the drawcard. Without it, I wouldn't have tried the book. So glad I did, though. Murder! Dismemberment! Cooking! Cannibalism! If you're interested in any of these, you'll be interested in Natalie Young's SEASON TO TASTE, OR HOW TO EAT YOUR HUSBAND. (Rephrase that: If you're interested in READING any of these... Because if you enjoy DOING murder, dismemberment, or cannibalism, you'd best turn yourself into police.)

So is Lizzie Prain a remarkable character, or are there just extreme circumstances? Nothing in particular seems to precede the murder. Jacob wasn't abusive; though it's clear it was a loveless marriage, a relationship out of convenience rather than anything else. Unemployment is a very relevant issue, and the strain it has on relationships is rather testing.

The cannibalism actually makes sense, strange as that sounds. If you don't want to be arrested, you've got to hide the evidence. A secluded location helps, as does a good barbecue, food processor, variety of recipes, and determination.

Yet the most fascinating sequence takes place in Glasgow, with a cooler bag that's struggling to keep cool its contents...

An extraordinary tale, SEASON TO TASTE is one of those novels you never expected to read and now can't imagine going WITHOUT reading it. Seemingly a literary tome, this genre fiction fan was fully engaged with SEASON TO TASTE. The monotony of the bonfire, cooking, and eating makes sense in the context, because it builds suspense for what's to come. I won't forget this book in a hurry.

Tori Amos said it best in "Blood Roses": "Sometimes you're nothing but meat."

Now awaiting the human/soylent green challenge on "Masterchef" and "My Kitchen Rules"...
HASH(0x9ce5b648) out of 5 stars AudioBook Review Stars: Overall 3 Narration 4 Story 3 27 Feb. 2015
By Gaele - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition
AudioBook Review
Stars: Overall 3 Narration 4 Story 3

When this title was offered, I instantly thought it similar in premise to Sweeney Todd, with a few twists. Natalie Young presents us with Lizzie Prain, a housewife with a fairly ordinary life, existing in a loveless marriage. One night, Lizzie loses her cool and kills Jacob, her husband.

There’s not a ton of “why” early on: why Lizzie didn’t make another choice; Jacob isn’t abusive he’s more dismissive, preferring the company of women he pays to that of his wife. But, the deed is done, and Lizzie must face the consequences or deal with her situation.

Her choice? An odd sort of penance as she takes the very British line of bucking up and doing what needs must, she decides to cook Jacob’s remains, and dispose of him that way. A bit grizly and not for the fainthearted, soon the focus really does shift from the cannibalistic act to the penance and guilt that Lizzie feels, and how she is making recompense for her deed.

A bit jumpy in the telling: there are insertions of flashbacks that are unnoted as such, bringing a strange sort of ‘time warp’ to readers, never quite sure of the information until a few paragraphs later. The unusual method of introducing the love interest, and the questions about Lizzie’s ability and willingness to come “clean” about her murderous ways do help to add some tension and interest, and the ending does feel appropriate and right for the story.

Narration is provided by Gemma Whelan, and she does a lovely job as Lizzie, with small changes in pitch and pacing as she presents the story. Pleasant to listen to, her presentation was appropriate and solid.

An interesting, if somewhat black-hearted story, it fits well into the ‘something different’ category that I was hoping for, with some lovely moments for readers and listeners alike.

I received an AudioBook copy of the title from Hachette Audio for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9ce5b2f4) out of 5 stars Don't Open It 11 Oct. 2014
By drtammy1511 - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
A catchy title and a very becoming book cover together make up 95% of the appeal of Natalie Young's book, "Season to Taste: A Novel, Or How to a Eat Your Husband." While traveling abroad in the United Kingdom, my daughter and I ran across this novel, which, curiously, is titled only "How to Eat Your Husband." Not having much time to investigate it, we took a picture of it and tracked it down when we returned home.

The story is about a woman who chooses to murder rather than divorce than divorce her loveless husband who frequents whorehouses, and then, in a cool, calculated move, in order to get rid of the body - eats him. The title gives away the plot...no suspense there. And really, the title gives away the plot. There is a poorly developed, thinly attempted subplot where a man asks her to bake a cake for his girlfriend's birthday celebration when he plans to propose to her, she runs away, her brother ends up the protagonist's lover, and he keeps saying the young woman will return but she never does. To top it off, the book was as well written as that sentence!

There were time jumps in this novel that weren't marked at all by any breaks. While other thoughts or ideas were demarcated by pretty little ballet shoes between them, time jumps happened from one paragraph to another. One sentence she's at home in the present eating his heart, the next, she's in town talking about selling her car. It's only pages later that the reader realizes it was a flashback. This made for a very confusing read.

Another problem was with her love interest. Out of the blue, Tom steps into the picture. He a crazy, eccentric, young man she used to babysit, ewwww. He flaps his arms at the end to try to "fly away" and convinces her to turn herself in because she "knew love" for "one month." This is truly unbelievable.

The pace at the end seems rushed after trudging through the first twelve chapters. She writes eating each limb in such detail at the beginning, it seems that she ran out of ideas for "ways to eat her husband," and remembered books need a plot, so she threw something in to finish it off.

In summary, this book has a great title, a good, eye catching cover, and that's as far as I'd go. Don't open it.
HASH(0x9ce5bb34) out of 5 stars How to Eat Your Husband 5 Aug. 2014
By Brave New Bookshelves - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition
The original title, apparently, was Season to Taste: Or How to Eat Your Husband. Keeping the alternate title for the US release would have been a good idea, in my opinion -- because I can absolutely see myself picking up this book at a bookstore and adding it to my much-loved shelf of food-related books, right beside Garlic and Sapphires or Like Water for Chocolate.

And if I'd done that, and settled in to read a mouthwatering, cozy novel about cooking, I would have been in for an unpleasant shock: the food that is getting "seasoned to taste" in this book is various human body parts.

Lizzie loses her cool one night and kills her husband. Naturally, she'd prefer not to go to jail for murder, so in a decision both practical and chilling, she decides to dispose of the evidence: she will cook and eat him, piece by piece.

I think it's important to note that this is not easy for her to do. She's not Hannibal Lecter; she doesn't have a craving for it. But even when it disgusts her, she feels obligated to do it. It's more than a way to "get away with it"; it's also some sort of penance, maybe even an apology to him, a promise that she'll literally absorb the consequences of her actions.

When I started the book, I joked to my boyfriend that it was a great diet book. I skipped dinner one night after reading about Lizzie's decision to start by cooking one of her husband's hands. It's a little gory and not for the faint of stomach. But gradually, the book becomes less about the cannibalism and more about Lizzie's efforts to deal with what she's done, to face her actions and make conscious choices to better her situation, to convince herself she's not crazy. It's a more complex and less titillating book than I expected, and that's a good thing.

Unfortunately, there's a bit of jumping around in time, and toward the end a few chapters are told from the point of view of the young man who lives down the road from Lizzie, and everything gets a bit muddled. Whatever bizarre and surprising charm the book had managed to muster in spite of its macabre subject matter had, for the most part, vanished by the final chapter.

Still, for impressing me despite my initial revulsion (and if you thought reading about a cooked hand was bad, let me tell you now, a foot is MUCH MUCH worse), this gets a solid 3 stars.

Full disclosure: I received a courtesy copy from Netgalley in exchange for my impartial review.

Protip: the UK version (with subtitle) is also available as a Kindle version, for about half the price of this one.
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